The importance of minerals in the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) is depicted via case histories of mines and mineral deposits of gold, borates, limestone, cinders, wollastonite, rare earths, and gypsum. The CDCA encompasses 25 million acres, nearly one-quarter of the total area of California. Two competing bills, introduced in the 102d U.S. Congress, will significantly affect land use in the CDCA. One bill, the "California Public Lands Wilderness Act," introduced on behalf of the executive branch, recommends establishing 2.3 million acres of national wilderness. The alternative bill, the "California Dessert Protection Act," would more than double the lands recommended for inclusion in the national wilderness and park systems in California. Because either bill will limit future development of natural resources that benefit the national and state economies, it is important that the bill passed balances wilderness attributes, etc., with mineral, as well as other natural resource, values. Collectively, these case histories show the historical importance of mining in the CDCA. They also indicate the current and future significance of the mineral commodities found in the CDCA.